38 special loads for accuracy

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by swanshot, Dec 11, 2003.

  1. swanshot

    swanshot Active Member

    My daughter bought a S&W model 10 with 4 inch barrel. It's about
    90%, and I load for her.
    Shooting for accuracy is proving a bit of a problem.
    I have a range of teflon coated locally cast lead projectiles that are popular because they are good, (I'm in Australia).
    Can anyone suggest a load for ACCURACY only. It doesn't matter if it falls out of the air at 50 feet, just so long makes a decent group before it does. Most my efforts so far have been with 140 and 158gn projectiles and medium to fast ADI AS30n and AP70 powders (rough equivalent of "unique" and "red dot") at velocities from 850 to 1000 fts/sec.
    Any sugestions, aside from buying a new gun, which just aint gonna happen cause she loves this piece, and I don't blame her.
    The other big question is "am I fighting a lost cause".
    :confused: :confused: :confused:
  2. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

    Well Swanshot, most guys (& gals) who shoot .38 Special for accuracy use 6" barrel wheelguns......so if your daughter is shooting against longer barrels, she's going to be disappointed. 4 inch wheelguns just aren't as accurate as the 6 in. guns are.

    That having been said, IMO, 4 inch wheelguns are more versitile than the longer ones. Handier to carry, faster on the target for self defense, and more fun for plinking/general shooting.

    My favorite load for accuracy was a cast lead 148 gr. wadcutter with 2.7 to 2.8 grains of Bullseye. Velocity is probably in the 700-750 fps range.

    If you can get Bullseye, start at 2.5 grains and work up a tenth of a grain at a time until you get the groups you want.

  3. cd45

    cd45 New Member

    Jul 30, 2003
    Mcloud, Oklahoma
    I have a 4" .357 that I shoot a lot of .38 out of. I have found that
    the gun really likes 148 wadcutters loaded over 3.8 grains of Unique. I was able to shoot bowling pins at 100 meters 4 out of 6 shots with open sights. It also likes 158 grain lswc. Good luck.
  4. Capri

    Capri New Member

    Jul 10, 2003
    Hello Swanshot, Try a 148g HBWC over 2.2gns of WST for a sweet shooting load.Some go lower(powder weight) and seat projectile in case 3or4 mm no crimp.Can also go up to 3.7gns WST over a 137g BNWC for a service/action load. I believe the AP powders are sold as Hogdon in the States.
  5. frosty

    frosty New Member

    Mar 4, 2003
    I have very good results with this load in a 4" revolver. I hope it works for you. Every gun digests a little different.;)

    Attached Files:

  6. swanshot

    swanshot Active Member

    Thanks guys. I just spent 9 straight hours at the range and it looks like I came up with something that works. I can't remember all the different combo's I tried, good thing I wrote em down:)

    2.4 grns of AS30n (a fast pistol/shotgun powder) pushin a 158grn semi waddcutter gave me three to four inch groups at 45 ft. Looks like that's about as good as it's gonna get.

    Attached Files:

  7. inplanotx

    inplanotx Active Member

    Jan 28, 2002
    Swanshot, have you looked at the muzzle crown on that pistol? See if there is a nick near the muzzle. This could cause the problems you are seeing. The escaping gases upset the base of the bullet and accuracy suffers. If it looks suspicous, have a gunsmith recut the crown. Very easy and cheap and could cure your problems. Just an idea for you.
  8. swanshot

    swanshot Active Member

    Damn! Now I really do feel foolish:eek: :eek: :eek: Would you believe I didn't think of it----Sometimes I get worried about me:rolleyes: :rolleyes: There's a young gunsmith that's starting to develope a good local reputation, and I like to give the "young blood" a chance. I'll get him to check it out.
    Thanks for the thought.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2003
  9. inplanotx

    inplanotx Active Member

    Jan 28, 2002
    Have him check the lock up and timing while he has it. Never know, could be a simple cure. Glad to help. If there is some damage to the crown, it should be very easy to see if looking down the muzzle. I know this is stupid, but make sure the darned thing is not loaded. A lot of times people use steel cleaning rods and damage the crown. Good luck and keep us posted.

    One other thing. Most target loads are mild. The higher the velocity the worse things can get. Try the HBWC 148gr at about 750 to 850 FPS. This should bring you into perspective of a normal target load. Most .38 specials do not like 158 gr Keith type bullets. They like 125gr to 148 gr loads. Just a thought. Good luck and keep us posted.

    As a defensive round, just turn the HBWC backwards in the case. Devistating at close range!
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2003
  10. Silencer

    Silencer Well-Known Member

    I once had a .357 revolver that had some accuracy problems. I had the forcing cone and the crown fixed. It shot a whole lot better afterwards. I used 148 gr. HBWC with 3.1 grains of Bullseye.
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